The Emerald heavyweight won the Ulster Elite title with a 4-1 split decision over Holy Trinity veteran Jason Barron.
The popular puncher did enough to claim a competitive win, with a strong final round from the outside seeming to seal victory.
It was an important win for former Holy Trinity fighter Sullivan, in more than one way, and he explained afterwards how Barron “beat me three years ago in the Senior final when I didn’t box anywhere near as good as I can box.”
“I knew this time I had to show them, because that’s my old boxing club. There’s no hard feelings, Harry and Mickey [Hawkins], they’re all good friends, the club just wasn’t working out for me – but I wasn’t going to let my old club beat me, no chance.”
It was a different Dee Sullivan in there on Friday, and the 24 year old is in the best shape of his career following a period of extreme weight loss.
The Belfast big man was super heavyweight champion at the last Ulsters, where he lost to Barron, and a semi-finalist at both the Irish Intermediates and Elites, losing both times to champion Martin Keenan.
Sullivan described how “a year and a half ago, I approached my strength and conditioning coach and said ‘listen, I want to lose a load of weight.’ I think it was something like 40kg, I was around about 130kg and I won the super heavies.”
“That’s actually two champs I am, I’m the double champ like Conor McGregor, I won the super heavy and I won the heavy.”
“I’m not here to compete, I’m here to win.”
Big men aren’t always assured of a spot on the Northern Ireland team for the Commonwealth Games – Barron himself missed out on Glasgow four years ago – and Sullivan does not want to get ahead of himself.
He outlined how “I’m just going to keep on working, all I am is the athlete. If they give me the call and the go-ahead to go to the Gold Coast, then I’ll be going – and I’ll guarantee a medal will be coming back, because all I do is work hard.”
“I’m not here to mess about, I’m here to win medals, gold is the only colour.”
One thing he is assured of, is that he will be one of the major names at the weight when the Irish Elite Seniors roll around in February.
With London Olympian Darren O’Neill set to move on, there looks to be an opening for an Irish heavyweight to take over, and Sullivan wants to be that man – among other things.
The West Belfast man said that “Darren’s a good friend of mine, and I think he’s jacked it in. He did a lot for the sport. Darren’s away, so the heavyweight division down in Dublin is wide open and I believe I think I can take that gold, get on the Irish team as well.”
“We’ll see what happens… go pro maybe? I can bang a bit, so we’ll see what happens if I go pro.”
Photo Credit: Ricardo Guglielminotti – The Fighting Irish (@ThefIrish)